As a child, opportunity cost was when my mother told me I could only spend $10 at the mall, and if I wanted the teddy bear, I couldn't have the dolphin as well.
As a teenager, opportunity cost was when a night out with friends instead of studying before the exam led to a bad test score that I eventually had to make up for.
As a college student, opportunity cost was when I insisted on both (partying and studying), and subsequently went through 14-hr sleep comas that probably averaged (wiped) out all the aforementioned productivity.
As an adult post graduation, opportunity cost was the decision to live in New York, to be in a relationship, to hang out with certain people, to eat certain kinds of food, to exercise (or not), to save money (or not), to pursue certain hobbies, to keep grinding at the 9-6 job...or to say fuck it, I'm moving to Paris. And until then, I'm going to do whatever the hell I want.
No, I had gotten it all wrong.
As a child, opportunity cost was when I bought that gorgeous little teddy bear and loved it for 7 years because it was one of the few stuffed animals I owned.
As a teenager, opportunity cost was how a good grade on my exam felt after I had put in a lot of effort and given up many other things I had wanted.
As a college student, opportunity cost was understanding I wasn't superwoman, and without good sleep and good health, that I could neither accomplish studying nor going out.
As an adult post graduation, opportunity cost was enjoying New York because very soon I was going to have to give it all up...for just the possibility of having something else.
The truth is, opportunity cost is what makes decisions meaningful, and life worthwhile. Because that teddy bear would have meant nothing if I could have had any stuffed animal in the world; that grade would have meant nothing if there was never the opportunity for me to fail; sleeping would have meant nothing if I was never forced to wake up; and New York would have meant nothing if I couldn't have lived anywhere else.
And Paris...Paris the City of Lights, this journey I am about to embark on, would certainly never mean this much to me, if there was no opportunity for me to lose it all.
And so we should be grateful, for what we have in place of what we have not. And remember, that only by giving, can we truly receive in this world.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love to describe life in various economic and psychology terms. I fell in love with the former in high school, and the latter in college, and have not been able to forget them since. Today, I want to write about my dear friend Opportunity Cost, someone we too often think of as sacrifice, but instead is what really gives our decisions meaning, and our life something worth living.